I’ll let you in on a secret. I’m socially inadequate. I’m either too petrified to say anything, or I go over the top the other way and present as a hyperactive squirrel on steroids. I can make Tigger look tame. I sometimes only open my mouth to change feet, and often by the time I realise I have said the wrong thing, noses are so far out of joint you could scratch your ears with them. And yet.
I am not the only one to be like this. People like this, we still deserve a home. We still need a home. Not just a small family, and a little house, but a village where the people welcome us, appreciate that our eccentricities aren’t our entire identities, make space so that we can warm ourselves by the fire and let us into their hearts. But it can be hard sometimes, finding that home. I catch a glimpse of it, maybe have a moment where I say the thing that nobody else would say, and that brings a tear to somebody’s eye, and I hear the story for the first time … and I realise that actually, sometimes being socially inadequate can be a good thing.
Sometimes the socially inadequate don’t just say the wrong thing, they say the right thing that nobody else would think is worthwhile to say. Things like “you are beautiful, just as you are.” Or “I’m not your friend because of the things you do for me. I’m your friend because you make my heart smile just from being with you.” These might be obvious statements, but to admit the beauty in others is sometimes seen as a character flaw, or worse. I still haven’t figured out why there is a social rule against such encouragement, but I know it exists. Fortunately, I’m socially inadequate so I still speak my mind on such matters.
We need the people who will talk about the things nobody else will talk about – addiction, sex, relationships, beauty, love, hate, forgiveness. The nitty gritty reality of being kicked in the teeth and getting up again. The unrelenting treadmill of perfectionism. How the hardest person to forgive sometimes is yourself. That sometimes, as a parent, you actually don’t like your child. All these things are true, and we hide from them. We pretend we do not feel that way. And then, somebody talks about it, and holds up a mirror, and we get angry. So angry, we don’t take the time to look at the reflection. So angry, we don’t see that it is not just the singular us in the mirror.
Yes, I’m socially inadequate. Yes I say uncomfortable things, and beautiful things and you can’t have one without the other. But come, let me sit around your fire, and I will tell you a greater truth. You don’t have to struggle alone. You don’t have to stay where you are. I may be socially inadequate, but I’m a very good companion for tricky journey.